EU Renews Support to Ukraine

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Ukraine expects fresh supplies of heavy weapons, modern jet artillery and missile defense systems from its partners, Zelensky said…reports Asian Lite News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania in Kiev to discuss his country’s prospects to join the European Union and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the presidential press service reported.

At the meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Zelensky briefed the European leaders about the situation on the frontline and the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces in the conflict with Russia, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ukraine expects fresh supplies of heavy weapons, modern jet artillery and missile defense systems from its partners, Zelensky said.

He also assured the European leaders that Ukraine stands ready to carry out the necessary work to gain full membership in the EU.

For his part, Macron said that Ukraine is part of the European family, and the leaders of the four countries support granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership.

Meanwhile, Scholz said that the candidate status is an important milestone in Ukraine’s European path, while noting that the country needs to meet certain criteria to join the 27-member bloc.

Iohannis stressed that European countries must create effective tools for rebuilding Ukraine after the conflict, while Draghi noted that the EU is demonstrating unity in its readiness to help Ukraine.

At their talks, the parties also touched upon the issues of economic support for Ukraine, the blockade of the export of Ukrainian grain, and fresh economic sanctions on Russia.

Macron, Scholz, Draghi and Iohannis arrived in Kiev earlier in the day for their first visit since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on February 24.

On February 28, Zelensky signed an official appeal to the EU asking for the accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure. And on June 11, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the commission will finalise the assessment on granting Ukraine EU candidate status by the end of this week.

Criminal act

In an interview regarding the ongoing war in Kiev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country “didn’t invade Ukraine, but declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the West that dragging Ukraine into NATO was a criminal act”.

 He made the remarks while speaking to the BBC, one of the very interactions that he has had with the Western media since Russia launched its ongoing invasion of Kiev on February 24.

As the Minister reiterated Russia’s repeated claim that there were Nazis in Ukraine, he was asked about an official UN report about Yahidne village in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region, where “360 residents, including 74 children and five persons with disabilities, were forced by Russian armed forces to stay for 28 days in the basement of a school” and if that was “fighting Nazis?”

 In reply, Lavrov told the BBC: “It’s a great pity, but international diplomats, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary-General and other UN representatives, are being put under pressure by the West. And very often they’re being used to amplify fake news spread by the West.

 “Russia is not squeaky clean. Russia is what it is. And we are not ashamed of showing who we are.”

 Regarding UK-Russia ties, Lavrov said he did not think “there’s even room for manoeuvre any more”.

 “Both (UK Prime Minister Boris) Johnson and (Foreign Secretary Liz) Truss say openly that we should defeat Russia, we should force Russia to its knees. Go on, then, do it,” he told the BBC.

 Last month, Truss had said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was humiliating himself on the world stage and that “we must ensure he faces a defeat in Ukraine”.

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